Monday, 30 May 2011

Second Pride 2011

Just a few pics from one the DJ sets I attended during Second Pride 2011.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Home Sweet Home

It has been a while since I lost my land in SL - as I could no longer afford the tiers for half a homestead. I have been forced to take refuge in my Linden Home. I have tried to do the best I can with it and feedback from visitors has been positive, but I hate it. It is one of the most depressingly bland and badly laid out builds in SL.

The building is long and narrow and spread over two floors. I have had to use low prim everything in order to make the space not look so empty. Thank heavens for PrimSavers for sofas, chairs and screens. Furnishing a two storey property on 117 prims is not easy.

Having studied architecture as part of my interior design training, the shape, size and layout of the building makes little sense to me. The sliding door does not match the style of the build, the windows don't have a standard tinting mechanism, the fire is modern but ugly and has a chimney which would empty in to the second floor room, there is a balcony on the second floor that is useless, doors and windows are badly arranged, etc.

Whilst I realise that it is not a real house, it would have been nice if the builder could have taken some real life design considerations with regard to layout and architecture.

I hate that the house is in the middle of a "housing estate" which is mostly empty. This makes packing the houses in so tightly rather ridiculous. I have a lovely view from one of the windows of the wall of the empty house next door. The thing I hate most is being landlocked. I am surrounded by other buildings with no real view and I so miss having a home by the sea. Every home I have had with the exception of my first skybox has been on the edge of a sim. It may sound odd but I love sitting by the water and watching the sunset.

I would settle for a small rental property somewhere until I get back on my feet financially, but I haven't found anything suitable yet. I shall keep looking.

Second Pride

As a result of going to Second Pride, my pic made it on to a couple of blogs!

Eddi Haskell's Blog

Jeff Ellsworth's Blog

Who is Nidge Bracken?

Sometimes people forget that there is a person behind every avatar and that they have feelings. I am sure I have done it too. Recently I received criticism that I kind of took to heart. Aside from the outfits I wore for Fantasy Pride and some of the ludicrous things I have worn to Second Pride, Nidge Bracken is essential me, Nigel Hirst - also known as Nidge (oddly enough).

My avatar was created as an ordinary sort of person that you could pass in the street - apart from being over seven feet tall obviously. My skin, hair and eyes are all natural colours, my body shape is fairly standard (i.e. I am not so wide across the shoulders that my legs would collapse under the weight), I don't have any outlandish accessories or such like.

Nidge Bracken is a regular sort of guy; albeit with my eccentricities and odd sense of humour.

The clothing I wear in Second Life is pretty much the style of clothing I would wear in real life - jeans or smart trousers, t-shirt or shirt, jacket and a vast array of shoes. It is unusual to see either of me in sportswear, sweaters, trendy stuff, branded fashion, etc. My avatar often sports long coats because I wear them in RL and I still have the goth tendencies that came to the fore in my 20s so this is sometimes reflected in what Nidge Bracken wears.

Even when I went to Fantasy Pride, some of the outfits I wore were similar to things I have worn or would wear in RL, though obviously I have never had a fish tail or a fox's head in real life... At Second Pride, I did venture quite unsuccessfully (I think) in to standard leather gear. While I have always had a fondness for leather jeans and coats in RL (my £600+ Italian leather trenchcoat being a particular favourite), in RL I have never worn a leather thong and chaps. It just wouldn't be me and I didn't feel overly comfortable in them as Nidge Bracken, but it was Pride so yeah.

So the criticism that kind of wounded me in SL was criticism of my avatar's clothing style. In the past week and a half I have been told that I dress like a child (jeans and a leather jacket), as if I am a noob (I was not wearing freebies) and that I looked old and boring. It has really made me conscious of what I am wearing in RL - perhaps people just don't get my personal style or maybe I actually have none.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sixty Six

It feels like ages since I have blogged, but that is probably because it is ages since I have blogged. Things in my real life (yes, I have one!) reached a head and I could not really muster any enthusiasm for anything in Second Life. Not that my SL was particularly excellent. My RL finances crumbled completely and I was forced to give up my land in SL. I have moved on a few times since I first rented in SL but I felt at home this time because it was a nice secluded beach property on a residential homestead sim (i.e. not much traffic). I then totally fell out with property managers over a comment one of them made in group chat. He described one of the gay sims as being the sort of place that if you dropped your wallet, you kicked it to the next sim before bending over to pick it up. As the estate had launched it's own gay sim to a fanfare of trumpets a few months before, it seemed a particularly insensitive comment. I complained (quite strongly) in a notecard to the estate owner and the executive officer. I am the kind of person who once my beliefs are challenged, will go on a crusade. The considered response from the estate manager was that I was "stupid" and my complaint was an over-reaction. I considered the comment to be homophobic but they legitimised it by saying it was "only a joke". That softened the loss of my land, as I didn't really want to live somewhere that I felt was more about taking my money than actually accepting it's residents. So farewell Serena Estates.

My Gorean alts departed the virtual world they had inhabited for a couple of years because I finally got sick of all the crap. I was once wandering through a non Gorean sim and someone IMd me completely out of the blue and warned me to be careful as "Gor destroys people". It was actually a comment I could not argue with as I had seen it happen a few times. No one had warned me when I became a Gorean physician that I would be expected to act as RL counsellor to 'slaves' shattered by the actions of their insensitive 'owners'. Oddly enough, I tried life as a Gorean slave and found that despite being a submissive person, I am no one's slave! In the true spirit of the Gorean books, I would have been put to death for my outspoken tendencies! SL Gor seems to work between two differing states. One is that of complete boredom because nothing happens for hours/days/weeks and there is no city roleplay because everyone is either in their homes shagging or trolling round Hubs or Starbucks. The flip side of the coin is when a raid happens. Cue bitching, OOC drama, insults, cries of "invalid", etc.

I had actually gone to SL Gor looking for something specific. Having read some of the books, I liked the idea of a community gathered together for the welfare of the city and each other. It was something that I had not found within what is loosely termed the 'gay community'. I didn't find it in SL Gor either. Maybe such a thing does not exist or maybe it is because I went to gay Gor which is an extension of the gay community. In both the SL gay community and SL gay Gor, I found the same thing - cliques. If you are part of the clique, you are fine. If you are not, then you are screwed (and not in a good way). Of course, anyone who has seen Heathers or Mean Girls knows what happens to cliques!

Friday, 11 February 2011

ALTered Images

So...people probably know that I have alt accounts in SL. I was rather shocked to discover that a system exists within SL to track alts. The RedZone Security system apparently uses a flaw in parcel media to detect and store users IP addresses. The IP addresses are linked to avatar names and cross-referenced within the system, thus showing an IP address and ALL avatars using it. Of course, this will show up alt accounts, families/couples who use the same computer for individual accounts, anyone using public computers and so on. The list is available to users of the RedZone system. A JIRA exists if anyone wants to read more or vote to remove this invasion of privacy from the grid.

RedZone Security JIRA

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Art Maze 2011:An Interactive Art Exhibition

After a particularly bad day in real life, I went in to SL and had received a notice in one of the groups I am a member of, Survivors of Suicide. I explored some of the exhibits - it's funny, the exhibit on mental health struck a chord with me as I was feeling particularly screwed up.

Art Maze 2011

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year Blues

So...New Year is a strange time for a lot of people. From the enforced joy of the Christmas season to the enforced celebration of the old year and the enthusiasm for the year ahead. Not everyone feels the festive spirit. I want to be happy but it doesn't always coincide with the festivals that are generally celebrated. Sometimes the depression takes hold and I do not feel like being around people or being jolly; I want to sit by myself and mope. I learned a long time ago that if I am in the grip of depression, I may as well embrace it rather than fighting it - it actually seems to go past quicker if I approach it with the "okay, let's get it over with attitude" as opposed to "I won't allow it".

Looking back over the old year can be hard - we all go through difficult times. Those we love are not always there to celebrate with us because of other commitments or because they have been taken away by accidents, ailments or disease. We don't always have someone who we can call special in our lives, our working life may not be what we would have wished for, our family lives may be lacking.

Before Christmas I had started work on some pictures in Second Life. They had been sparked by my involvement with the Survivors of Suicide Project in-world. I found the whole process of creating them to be cathartic, until I acted one of them out in real life. It was mostly accidental - I was tired of feeling exhausted all the time and decided to stop taking my pills. Going cold turkey proved too much and after about three days I was so desperate that I started taking them again. Of course, they are not instant so when I did not get any relief, I took some more. And some more. And some more. Thankfully the new wave of anti-depressants makes you ill in the short term rather than causing permanent damage and the chances of overdose are slim unless you are really determined. Not everyone is so fortunate - the guy across the street from me was found hanged shortly before Christmas. Horrible for his family, horrible for him - dying alone under such circumstances. pictures. These are not meant to glorify anything and I would suggest that if you are off a nervous disposition you may wish to not view them. Mental ill-health is a taboo topic, but for as long as it is, people will slip quietly away without the help they so need.